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Natalie Novick

PhD Candidate: UC San Diego, Sociology, 2016

MA: UC San Diego, Sociology, 2015

MSc: Trinity College Dublin, 2009

BA: Arizona State University, 2007


Research Interests: Cultural Sociology, Economic Sociology, Entrepreneurship, European Union


Personal Website:


I am a sociologist and ethnographer researching the people, places and practices of Europe’s startup ecosystem. For the last several years, I've been crossing Europe interviewing entrepreneurs, freelancers and community builders for my PhD research, The Startup City: The people, places and practices of digital Europe.

Startup ecosystems have unique combinations of economic, social, and cultural resources that can either enable, or inhibit entrepreneurial activity. Through surveys, interviews and ethnographic work, the project aims to identify the most integral components of the startup city, and better understand what makes startup ecosystems successful, viable, and sustainable.

In the course of conducting this work, what I've found is that is entrepreneurship, especially in new innovation and technology is primarily about people. While my academic background is in quantitative methods, I soon realized in ecosystem research that relying only on statistics and big data misses much of the story. Ethnography allows the opportunity to investigate how unique interactions take place and how ecosystem elements work together. In the course of my research I've interviewed hundreds of people at all levels in the European startup scene in 14 European countries.

I maintain a considerable commitment to public sociology and appear frequently as a public speaker at technology events and regularly in the media. I am a registered "Expert" for the European Commission and work often with policymakers and community builders with helping to measure their entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Expected Dissertation Defense Date: Fall 2019
Primary Supervisor: Dr. John Skrentny

Natalie's research is funded by the University of California's Frontiers of Innovation Research Program, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Tinker Foundation.

Recent Public Presentations / Invited Keynotes:

Global Entrepreneurship Network, Startup Nations Summit. Tallinn, Estonia 2017

TechChill Startup Ecosystems Summit. Riga, Latvia 2018

EMERGE Community Summit. Minsk, Belarus 2018

Mondial.Tech, Paris, France 2018

Pioneers18, Vienna, Austria 2018

I am Tomorrow, Tallinn, Estonia 2018

TechBBQ, Copenhagen, Denmark 2018

Health Pioneers, Vienna, Austria 2018

UACES Conference, Bath, UK 2018

Seed The Future, in collaboration with Stripe and Techstars, Lisbon, Portugal

Publications and work in progress information
Teaching information